Work in Sports
Returnees: Gs Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Bonzi Wells; Fs Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace, Detlef Schrempf; C Arvydas Sabonis
Prominent free agents: G Greg Anthony, F Brian Grant
Assets: The Trail Blazers arguably own the league's best roster. Their lineup has virtually no weaknesses, other than the fact that it lacks a superstar. Wallace, Smith, Pippen and Stoudamire are all high-caliber players and Sabonis is a terrific second-tier center. Rounding out the rotation is Wells and Schrempf, in addition to veteran defensive-stopper Stacey Augmon, who has had trouble cracking the rotation.
Needs: O'Neal is demanding a trade because he has not received the playing time he was expecting when he signed a contract extension last summer. There are rumors surrounding free agent Grant going to the Lakers, where he could gain the coveted starting position that he lost this season to Wallace. The other free agent, Anthony, is an excellent backup point guard. He and management have a mutual wish for his return.
Options: The end of the first round is loaded with opportunity to add the frontcourt depth required to help brace for the possible losses of Grant and O'Neal. Auburn C Mamadou N'diaye, Kentucky F-C Jamaal Magloire, Benston Zagreb (Croatia) C Dalibor Bagaric, Georgia Tech F Jason Collier, Utah F Hanno Mottola, Northern Arizona C Dan McClintock and Cincinnati (IBL) C Soumaila Samake lead the pack.
The braintrust says: "We like our team as is. You could always use more big people, defenders and shooters. We'll try and get the best player available." -- general manager Bob Whitsitt.
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